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Interview: Bernd Schneider

Multiple DTM champion, Bernd Schneider gives his impression of the mighty W154, and recalls the last time F1 had turbo engines

 

Fifty-year old Bernd Schneider has been associated with Mercedes-AMG for more than 20 years, completing his first full season in the DTM in a Mercedes 190E in 1992 (above). He's the most successful driver in DTM history, winning five titles between 1995 and 2006. He retired in 2008, and has since worked as a brand ambassador for the company.

In 2012 you attended the Goodwood Revival for the first time – could you tell us a little about what it was like to drive the W154 Silver Arrow?
First I have to say that I was very impressed with the Goodwood Revival! To drive the W154 is something very special, because stars like Richard Seaman and Rudolf Caracciola achieved enormous success with the Silver Arrows. Driving the W154 today is like going back to that time. To me, it is a wonder that you could drive a car – with so much horsepower – at the limit, for hours on end. This generation of racing drivers were real heroes…

How does it compare with other MB Classic vehicles you've driven?

Every single Silver Arrow is remarkable and I am very proud that I have been allowed to drive every one of them. To compare the W154 with all the other cars would take hours, but this much I can say: the W154 is among the most powerful of the silver arrows and one of my favorites in our museum.

Prior to his DTM career, Schneider spent three years in uncompetitive Formula 1 cars, driving for Zakspeed and Footwork/Arrows from 1988-90. His best results were two 12th places.

Turbo engines are making a comeback in Formula 1 from 2014. We'd love to hear your recollections of what the 1980s turbo F1 engines were like to drive.
Well, the turbo engines in the eighties, and especially those with four cylinders, had unbelievable turbo lag! The four-cylinders had just one big turbocharger and needed a long time to get up to speed so that you had to push the throttle down before the bend in order to achieve the maximum performance after the bend. Unfortunately, in 1988 the boost was reduced to 2.5 bars and you lost a lot of engine performance, but at the same time the driveability was improved.

Pictures copyright Daimler AG

 

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